Brief History of GIS.

Most of my professional life has revolved around GIS (Geographical Information Systems).  GIS is a mapping application that is used by many disciplines to visualize and map data.  GIS systems use tabular data along with spatial data so that patterns can be seen and interpreted.

All kinds of data can be mapped such as demographic, environmental, medical, etc. There are many kinds of GIS systems available, some are pricey and some are available for free.  GIS does have a steep learning curve, but once you understand how it works you use the same principles to just about all GIS platforms.

If you are interested in learning more about cartography and GIS check out this article from the Smithsonian on the history of GIS.